America’s roads may look a little older in the future. Not the pavement, but the vehicles driving on it.
The Nationa Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finally put the stipulations of a law passed in 2015 into effect that will make it easier to build and buy new replicas of classic cars.
The rules set down by the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act were developed in partnership with SEMA, the organization that represents the U.S. automotive aftermarket industry.
The final regulations allow small manufacturers, who build less than 5,000 vehicles annually, to annually produce up to 325 licensed replicas of vehicles that are at least 25 years old without having to meet costly crash testing and other modern safety standards and sell them with a federally registered VIN.
Previously, these types of vehicles could only be sold as “component” or “kit” cars that had to be assembled by the owner and registered under state laws.
The main requirement is that the vehicle designs must be officially licensed from their original manufacturer and use a powertrain with current emissions controls. A 10% leeway on the size of the vehicle is allowed, and the interior does not need to replicate the one in the vehicle it’s based on.
“SEMA applauds NHTSA’s final rule allowing companies to market classic-themed cars,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA vice president of government affairs. “Regulatory barriers have previously prevented small automakers from producing heritage cars that are coveted by consumers. The roadblocks have been eliminated. This is a hard-fought victory for enthusiasts, small volume manufacturers, their suppliers, and all the men and women who will be hired to fill new jobs created by this law.”
Lance Stander, CEO of Superformance, one of the largest manufacturers of component cars, told Fox News Autos he expects to begin selling vehicles under the new regulations within a year.
“Biggest problem now, is a good problem to have, Superformance is all sold out of new build slots until 2023 and on some of our cars until 2024. So we will have to up production a lot to accomplish this,” he said.